I signed up for the CBS All Access video service when they were running a promotion for a month-long free trial (no longer available). The service runs $5.99 a month. I tested the service on my Roku box, my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 tablet (Android) and my iPad Mini first generation (IOS).
Sign up was super easy. I just had to create an account, enter billing and credit card info and I was good to go. I didn’t need to wait for a confirmation email to use the service.
CBS has a lot of long-running shows and most of that content is available on the service. NCIS and its spin-offs. Criminal Minds. MacGyver. CSI and spin-offs. All 175 episodes of Family Ties. All 264 episodes of Frazier. All of the Star Trek series are available on demand. The content also includes current shows and the option to watch live TV.
The few shows that were missing seemed to be tied in to current licensing deals. When I started my free trial, there were only clips from the series EXTANT – no full episodes -Amazon had exclusive streaming rights to the show. When season two of the show started, the season one episodes finally appeared on ALL Access. There are no season two episodes because Amazon still has exclusive rights to those.
CBS’ Elementary is another strange situation. Right now, seasons one through three are streaming exclusively on Hulu Plus. CBS All Access is only showing episodes from season three on demand. Hulu Plus’ original announcement seemed to indicate that its agreement for Elementary only covered past episodes, not the current ones.
Most new episodes appear the day after the show airs on television. The Kindle version of the app lists an 8 day delay for episodes in HD.
I tried the CBS app on three different devices. The experience was slightly different on each one of them, but the two things in common across all three platforms were the excessive adds and the video glitches and quality problems.
The advertisements on this service are, quite simply, awful. There are tons of ads and they played before, during and after the show episodes. The sound volume of the ads was extremely loud compared to the video volume. The ad choices seemed especially irritating. The fact that they were played repeatedly through out an episode only increased my annoyance. The series of Jack Link’s Jerky commercials featuring the abuse and bullying of Sasquatch stood out as being particularly noxious.
On the Roku, ads played an average of every eight minutes. The cutting process was really awkward. After the commercials, the show would replay the last few seconds before the break and playback would repeatedly stall and need to reload. I have DSL, and the app did not handle a slow connection well; at times the quality was very poor and the audio would be slightly out of sync. This was especially noticeable compared to Netflix, Amazon and Hulu which seem to do a better job of balancing slower connections.
Viewing on the Android app showed most of the same problems with ads and audio sync issues as the Roku. For the most part, the video quality was somewhat better on the Android than the Roku box.
The picture quality on the iPad Mini was the best out of the three devices, although the audio sync problems were still there.The IOS app had full page ads built into the app that were really disruptive.
Both the Android and IOS app still showed a large number of commercials, but they seemed to be less frequent at the beginning and more frequent towards the end of the episode.
All three platforms had closed captions, although the settings were a little more difficult to figure out on the Roku app as they worked a little differently than I was used to on Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. On the IOS app, I could turn on captions from within the app for streaming, but the app defaulted to the main IOS setting when watching live TV.
I live right outside of Chicago and had no problems with the app recognizing and streaming my local CBS station live. The commercial ads shown during the live didn’t seem the same ones I saw on the on demand side of the app. There were a lot of very short commercials but I didn’t see anything I recognized as strictly local to Chicago.
With a price tag of $5.99 a month, the advertisements and the poor video quality on the Roku box were deal breakers for me, especially after trying Hulu ad-free. I canceled the service near the end of the trial.
Canceling the service was very easy. I simply clicked a link on my account page to cancel, although a toll-free number is also listed on the cancellation page. I was asked to give a reason for canceling (it was optional) and given an opportunity to provide feedback (also optional). I received an immediate email verifying my billing cancellation. I was also informed that I still had access to the content until my trial period actually ended.
Today, CBS Studios announced a new Star Trek series to air in 2017. According to the announcement in Mediaite:
Unlike previous series, only the first episode will air on television. The new series will be the first exclusive series for CBS’s “All Access” online streaming service, which currently costs $5.99 per month.
I am a die-hard Trekkie, but unless this service gets significantly better, I will be waiting on the new series until it is out on DVD. I don’t get making the show exclusive to All Access unless they are just trying to boost the adoption of the app.
So, how about you? Have you tried the service? How do you feel about CBS making it exclusive?
UPDATE: In today’s earnings call, CBS CEO Les Moonves is hinting at the possibility of an ad-free service for a higher price:
“How about $9.99 with no ads? It’s very possible,” he says although he adds that “it’s still very early.”
It is good that CBS is looking at a version without ads, but $9.99 for one network’s offerings seems a bit steep compared to Netflix, Amazon and Hulu Plus.
With the constant rising popularity of online streaming, it’s no surprise that CBS is one of the first TV networks to jump on the bandwagon. But with services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime already out there, is it really worth the $6 a month they’re asking? Well, in short…no! Or at least not yet!
Now, let me just say that All Access isn’t a bad idea in and of itself. I think if done right, it could become a worthwhile venture. It at least shows that CBS is forward thinking. But the model just isn’t there yet. However, there are positives to the service.
- Current Shows – Most of the current shows are included in All Access with new episodes available the day after they air. While the CBS website includes the shows online for everyone to watch as well, you do have to wait an extra week to watch them on mobile devices. With the service, you can watch the latest episode of your favorite show the morning after on your mobile device.
- Past Episodes (from previous seasons) – A couple seasons behind on The Good Wife or NCIS? Well then you can watch past seasons and catch up!
- Live TV – If you’re one of the lucky people living in one of the selected larger cities, then you don’t need cable to watch your favorite CBS shows the night they premiere. In fact, you can stream them live as they air.
- Classic Shows – There is a vault of past CBS shows to watch from beginning to end.
- Past Seasons – While I mentioned the positives of having some past seasons to watch, in total there really aren’t all that many shows included in the service that have actual past seasons. You can’t watch past seasons of Elementary or Hawaii Five-0 for instance. This was a real negative for me as it would be the only reason for me to have the service right now.
- Live TV – Honestly, most people around the country won’t be able to use this service yet as most cities aren’t included. Also, you can’t press pause like you can on your Tivo, Netflix or Hulu.
- The Selection – If you have Netflix, Hulu or Amazon then there isn’t a whole lot new here to watch. Many of the shows they include (beyond their current seasons) are already spread across these services. So there really isn’t a huge selection of shows with exclusive access.
- Advertising – While a little less than just watching the shows on the CBS website, there is still WAY too much advertising. You even get a commercial while scrolling for shows to watch. I get that they need the advertisers, but to me it all felt a bit like overkill.
When CBS All Access Will Be Worth It
Besides cutting down the abundance of advertising a smidge, adding more past seasons to all the shows they own the rights for, adding most cities across the country for Live TV and adding to their classics collection, CBS All Access needs one important thing:
Just like Netflix and Amazon have original TV Series exclusive to their streaming service, so should CBS. This would also be a great place to continue canceled series that still have a larger cult following. Another way CBS All Access could bring in original content (or must see entertainment people will easily chalk up $6 for) is TV Movies or Miniseries made as ways to give proper conclusions to canceled shows. Just imagine all these years after the Moonlight cancellation, they bring back the cast and writers for one last adventure (if you want to see one idea of how they could bring back the show briefly with aging actors playing vampires, read this). I know I’d pay $6. Heck, I’d probably pay $20. Yes, I do know the Moonlight one is wishful thinking on my part…
While there are positives and negatives to the CBS All Access streaming service, right now what’s included just isn’t worth the monthly fee. But if in the future they are able to create a better service with more to offer, then perhaps it could become a service worth paying for. Till then, I’d say stick with Netflix, Amazon and Hulu.
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About Amber Topping
Amber works as a blogger/writer full-time and fell in love with stories and imagination at an early age. She has a Humanities and Film Degree from BYU, co-created The Silver Petticoat Review, contributed as a writer to various magazines, and has an MS in Publishing from Pace University, where she received the Publishing Award of Excellence and wrote her thesis on transmedia, Jane Austen, and the romance genre. Her ultimate dreams are publishing books, writing and producing movies, traveling around the world, and forming a creative village of talented storytellers trying to change the world through art.
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There’s a saying in business that you can have things good, fast, or cheap — pick two. CBS’s dedicated streaming service, All Access (the exclusive online home of Star Trek: Discovery) has often seemed like the answer to a different question: what if you had none of those three things?
Although All Access has been around since 2014, the subscription service made its biggest splash yet in September 2017, with Discovery’s debut. It was the first Star Trek show in more than a decade, and it seems to have been designed specifically to drive interest in CBS’s service. Although international audiences can watch the show — which just returned after a two-month holiday hiatus — through Netflix, cord-cutters in America had to pay for All Access to see Discovery, fueling a record number of sign-ups, and a record number of people annoyed by the idea of paying $6 a month to watch a show with commercials.
Americans who want to watch All Access shows without commercials will have to pony up $9.99 a month — more than a subscription to either basic Netflix or Hulu Plus. Although the graduated pay structure sounds a bit like Hulu’s no commercials plan, Hulu offers shows from ABC, NBC, Fox, and a limited amount of CBS’s own library, as well as a substantial movie library and original content. CBS All Access, on the other hand, offers… CBS All Access.
Despite its name, the service also doesn’t actually provide that much access, even to the network’s own library. The Big Bang Theory remains CBS’s biggest hit, but only 12 episodes of the comedy’s 11 seasons are currently available to stream, due to licensing issues. Other popular shows, like 2 Broke Girls, aren’t available at all. And even when you can watch the shows you want, video quality has been a persistent concern for viewers; Star Trek: Discovery’s illustrious debut was accompanied by frustrating glitches for many All Access users.
I can personally attest that the glitches have persisted. In one viewing of Sunday’s mid-season debut of Discovery, the service seized up twice during commercials, and when I reloaded, I had to watch the same ads all over again. In another case, the audio from the show continued to play over the commercials, projecting the screams of characters undergoing torture over a cheery Cigna ad promoting annual check-ups.
CBS is the only broadcast network with its own dedicated streaming subscription service, and there’s a reason for that: if you’re a going to charge money for access to content from one channel, you’d better be getting some truly essential television. There were few complaints about HBO Now when it launched in 2015, but HBO has always been subscription-only, and cord-cutters had been calling for a streaming-only option of the prestige TV channel for years. But CBS is no HBO, and All Access is a service pretty much no one but CBS wanted.
For many viewers, the All Access subscription fee amounts to an a la carte payment for Discovery on a service that has little else to offer them, adding yet another line item to their media budget every month. Cord-cutting once seemed like a way to evade the hefty charges that come with cable TV bundles, but now, it’s increasingly starting to feel more like making a lot of little payments instead of one big one. If you subscribe to Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime, you’re already paying about $25 a month; add HBO Now and Showtime, and you’re over $50. Throw on CBS All Access and Disney’s upcoming ESPN streaming service, and cord-cutting starts to feel less like freedom and more like a death by a thousand cuts.
And yet, I subscribed to All Access anyway in order to watch Discovery, even though I feel personally insulted by its business model. So arguably, making aTrek series that lots of people want to watch and holding it hostage behind a paywall was an effective move — at least when it comes to coercing superfans like me. I’ll keep shelling out the monthly fee for the same reason I keep watching when All Access glitches out, and I have to watch the same Geico commercial about talking penguins three times in a row: I want to watch Star Trek, even if the experience is so frustrating that it feels like an elaborate troll.
So you got me, CBS. I’m paying for your subscription service — at least until this season of Discovery ends — but I’m doing it reluctantly and resentfully, and feeling like a rube every step of the way.
In This Stream
Star Trek: Discovery: all the trailers, commentary, and updates for the new TV seriesView all 36 stories Sours: https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/10/16862278/cbs-all-access-star-trek-discovery-streaming-service-analysis
CBS President, Les Moonves, has been in the news recently after making the statement that CBS would most likely sign a content deal with Apple for their rumored TV streaming service.
Already the network has scored some prime advertising space with Apple, as its blockbuster show The Big Bang Theory has been featured on new Apple TV ads, including the promo webpage.
It’s no secret that the two companies have been working well together recently and this week CBS made another push into Apple space by adding a new CBS streaming app on the 3rd generation Apple TV just days before preorders start for the new model.
The new app requires a $5.99 subscription to CBS All Access which opens the door to all sorts of CBS content including over 7,500 of on demand episodes.
The service does provide a seven day free trial which automatically renews after you forget to cancel, which is usually frustrating, but on the bright side, it does give you a chance to dig in to see if CBS All Access is right for you.
After spending a few days with the new CBS app, I’ve come away with an overall positive impression but there are still some glaring issues.
With over 7,500 episodes to stream there is obviously a major back catalog of episodes available on demand. Every episode of popular shows like CSI:Miami and NCIS are available but it’s important to know that those shows are already available on Netflix. Similarly, the back catalog of The Good Wife, another hit CBS show, is available on Hulu.
So where does the new CBS Apple TV app set itself apart? First, episodes of major primetime shows that aren’t available anywhere else, like The Big Bang Theory, will be offered a day after they air. The only negative with some of the current primetime shows is that their back catalog is not available.
Another compelling feature is Live TV. As long as your local CBS affiliate supports CBS All Access, a live feed will be offered in the app so that you can catch whatever is airing live, with some exceptions of course.
Because of contract issues some broadcasts won’t be available, like NFL football games which is a big blow for me. But this isn’t a major surprise considering how stingy the NFL has been about streaming its games over the last few years.
Some Final Thoughts
If you have a current Apple TV and are overwhelmed by Netflix or just find yourself constantly hooked to CBS shows then the new CBS app may be just what the doctor ordered. It is essentially an avenue into the CBS All Access service which isn’t a bad thing. At only $5.99 a month it is cheaper than Netflix and Hulu but is obviously limited to CBS programs. But on the practical side, if you have a pair of old school rabbit ears that can pick up your local CBS affiliate then you can already get CBS live, including the football games.
If you are already a CBS All Access subscriber, the new app is an excellent supplement. For new users, I think the service will only benefit you if you want to watch the most recent primetime shows whenever you want.
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All access review 2015 cbs
CBS All Access Review
CBS All Access is the one-stop shop for a backlog of CBS shows, plus original content. Furthermore, viewers can also make the most of local news coverage and live NFL games. Shows will typically become available the day after their original broadcast, and there are complete back catalogs of most current CBS series. The service has plans to expand internationally, beyond the US, Canada and Australia.
The service has an extensive history. It was launched in 2014 and was the first OTT (or over the top) service to be offered by an American broadcast television network. It expanded quickly, becoming available on Roku and Chromecast in 2015. The platform now has not only past and present programs, but live programming of local affiliates in 194 markets. This coverage reaches 92% of the United States in total.
CBS All Access has had a number of successful ventures over the years. For example, when Star Trek: Discovery made its debut on the platform in 2017, they reported a record number of signups. In 2019, the platform announced that Nickelodeon programming would be introduced, and 2020 saw reports that ViacomCBS would launch a larger premium streaming service by combining CBS All Access with titles from Paramount Pictures, Pluto TV and the Domestic Media Networks division.
Pros and Cons
Watch full back catalogs of top CBS shows. Enjoy thorough binge watching with complete seasons of your favourite series.
Stream live TV. Content includes news and NFL games, so sports fans and those wanting the latest current affairs won’t miss out.
Competitive pricing. There isn’t too big of a dent in the bank account each month, which adds to this platform’s appeal.
Only CBS shows are available. Unlike platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, CBS All Access is limited to its own network.
Some TV seasons are incomplete. While many are all there, there are some exceptions, which could prove frustrating.
Technical issues. Some users have complained online that they sometimes have trouble accessing the website or app.
Genres and channels
CBS All Access provides over 12,000 episodes of daytime, primetime and late night CBS shows. There are both shows which air on the network and exclusive CBS All Access Original Series. Live TV is also available for those who want the essentials – a customer’s local CBS station is included, as well as CBSN, CBS Sports HQ and ET Live 24/7.
The main genres on CBS All Access are Primetime, Daytime, News, Kids and Classics. Top shows are also showcased, highlighting the best that the platform has to offer.
As CBS All Access is in direct competition with smaller services such as Sling TV and YouTube TV, you can expect a similar content slate. That said, as the name suggests, the only content you’ll find on this platform comes from CBS itself.
This means that those who are particular fans of specific shows such as Star Trek and Cheers will get a complete fix with this platform, as the full run of these classics are available.
The distinction with the content available on CBS All Access isn’t whether CBS originally aired the show or movie, but whether the network owns it. For example, while CBS could only have ‘last five’ episode rights during the original run of The Big Bang Theory – as Warner Bros had all other rights as its distributor – the network provides shows which used to be owned by Paramount TV.
This is because the shows were made for both CBS and other networks before CBS acquired the program library as part of its split from Viacom. As a result, CBS All Access can provide its subscribers with classic series such as MacGyver, Twin Peaks and CSI: Miami.
What’s more, a selection of films from Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Television, CBS Films, The Samuel Goldwyn Company and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer have been made available on the service, as well as selected kids shows from providers such as WildBrain.
Original series for adults include The Good Fight, Why Women Kill, The Twilight Zone and Star Trek: Picard. There are also series for kids, with examples including Bob The Builder, Danny Phantom and Danger Mouse.
Top CBS All Access shows and movies
60 Minutes – Hour-long coverage of America’s most pressing issues.
CBS Evening News – Breaking news, features and human interest stories.
Face the Nation – Politicians and government leaders join newsmakers to discuss current events.
Star Trek: Discovery – The adventures of the crew on the USS Discovery around a decade before Captain Kirk’s 5 year mission.
The Good Fight – Begins a year after the events in the final episode of The Good Wife and chronicles Diane and Maia rebuilding their careers and lives at a new firm.
NCIS – A group of people with varied and strong personalities work together investigating crimes.
Blue Bloods – Centers around a family of cops, where one is invited to take part in a top secret investigation.
Elementary – Sherlock Holmes travels from London to Manhattan after spending time in rehab.
Man with a Plan – When Adam takes on more parental responsibilities, he learns his children aren’t the little angels he thought they were.
Young Sheldon – Nine year old Sheldon skips four grades at school and struggles with navigating life as an intellectual with a high IQ.
Kevin Can Wait – Chronicling the life of Kevin, a recently retired New York cop and father of three.
The Big Bang Theory – Join science nerds Sheldon, Leonard, Raj and Howard as they struggle to navigate the world of social obligations and relationships.
The Twilight Zone – Episodes combining drama, horror, science fiction, comedy and superstition.
Star Trek – The interstellar adventures of the USS Enterprise.
Hawaii 5-0 – Detectives aim to eliminate crime on the island.
The CBS All Access user interface comprises a navigation menu with a bright blue theme. Available sections include shows, full episodes, live TV, movies and more. If you want to find something specific, you can make use of the search bar towards the right. Additionally, you can access your profile settings on the right hand side of this screen.
While navigating the profile settings menu, you have several options. You can edit your contact information, link your profile to your Facebook and Twitter accounts, or set up email notifications to keep you in the loop. There is also a help portal, which provides a collection of FAQs about the service.
The shows icon, when clicked, directs the user to a list of all the CBS shows which are available. Content headers split the titles up into various genres, such as originals, drama, specials, reality and classics. When it comes to live TV, there’s the local CBS station, CBS for 24/7 news, and CBS SportsHQ. The provider will detect the location you reside in and content may vary according to this factor. There are over 200 different markets with the local channels, so it’s likely you will have access. With the schedule section, you can see what primetime television is scheduled to air over the next fortnight.
CBS All Access also provides users with a mobile app, which launches quickly and prompts users to either sign in or sign up. The menu is similar to that seen with the desktop edition, so you can browse shows, live TV, movies, schedule, shop and settings. The colour theme is blue and black, and ads will be displayed on the bottom of the screen. On the right hand side, there is a Chromecast button for streaming to TV and a search bar for discovering specific content.
A newer feature available with the iOS and Android apps is offline downloads, which makes it similar functionally to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. All you have to do in order to download content is tap the corresponding icon next to any title which supports the feature. Not all of the shows will be eligible for watching offline, but you will be able to make use of this feature with most of the networks’ original shows.
Within the app settings, you can make changes to your download preferences. One option is toggling the auto-delete upon completion section, and you can also choose whether you will restrict downloads to only be carried out when you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network.
Furthermore, you can decide whether you would prefer SD or HD downloads. If you’re wondering how much space you have left for downloads on your device, there will be a graph displaying the storage distribution. You have an allowance to download up to 25 videos at any single point in time. The same video can also be kept on up to five devices. When it comes to deletion of these videos, CBS will do this either 30 days after download or 48 hours from when playback begins.
At the time of writing, CBS All Access does not have the ability to provide 4K content. The maximum streaming resolution is 1080p. Some titles have support for 5.1 surround sound, but competitors such as Disney Plus have better setups in this regard – with support for HDR, Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision standards.
Generally speaking, to gain a satisfactory level of playback quality, an internet speed of 1.5Mbps or more is required. For Big Brother live streams, 4Mbps is recommended, and speeds of 25Mbps will definitely allow for the highest streaming resolution to play back without any issues.
There are a number of options for those seeking support from CBS All Access. There is a verified Twitter account dedicated to helping customers, and it is active between 9am and 1am ET. Alternatively, there is a help centre which features a web form for customers to fill out so an agent can get in touch via email. A phone number is also available, and the help centre features common questions around topics such as troubleshooting, billing and supported devices.
Both the Limited Commercials and Commercial Free plans come with 1 week free for new customers. This free trial will automatically roll onto the monthly plan when it expires, unless the customer cancels their plan while the trial is still active.
Plans and pricing
The two main CBS All Access plans are Limited Commercials and Commercial Free. Limited Commercials costs $5.99 a month, while Commercial Free is $9.99 a month. The Commercial Free option has more features, such as the ability to download videos and play them offline.
Alternatively, customers can save over 15% by purchasing an annual plan. The Limited Commercials plan is $59.99 a year, while the Commercial Free plan is $99.99 a year.
CBS All Access has an increasing number of competitors in the streaming sphere. As it provides a niche form of content and limited live TV compared to major players such as Disney Plus and Netflix, it may not be as popular. That said, there are plenty of original series on this platform which are arguably just as good as those found on some of its biggest competitors.
The main area CBS All Access doesn’t measure up to its competition is in the 4K and HD content area, as the maximum resolution of 1080p may not be enough for some people. However, for those who want to watch their favourite CBS shows and get a decent sampling of live TV, CBS All Access is a solid choice.
Is CBS All Access worth it?
CBS All Access provides a comprehensive range of content for those who enjoy watching content on this network. From live TV to original programming, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re streaming at home or downloading content to view on the go, this platform provides versatile options to suit a range of viewing preferences.
The one week trial gives people time to come to a final decision about whether they want to use the service for longer, and the plans are competitively priced. The interface is easy to navigate and you can either search for content or divide it up into genres and categories to streamline the discovery process. Overall, CBS All Access is a high quality option for streaming service fans.
See our list of best streaming services to find the right streaming service for you.
How to cancel my CBS All Access subscription
- Log into your account online.
- Navigate to the Account tab.
- Click on CBS All Access Account.
- Scroll down until you see the button labelled ‘Cancel my subscription.’
- Click on this button and fill out the cancellation form indicating why you want to cancel your account.
- Click on ‘Complete Cancellation’.
How to login to my CBS All Access account
- Navigate to the CBS All Access website or download the app.
- Click on the Sign In button, which is located in the top right corner.
- Enter your email and password.
- Click on Forgot Password if you need to reset your details.
- Sign in using Facebook or a TV provider if this is how you access CBS All Access.
- Start watching!
How to delete my watch history on CBS All Access
This function does not currently appear to be available.
How to restart my CBS All Access subscription later
If you decide to cancel your CBS All Access subscription for a while, then start it up again later, you simply need to log back into your account and select a payment plan. The longer you leave it between cancelling and restarting, the more likely it is you will lose data about favourite shows, watch history etc.
How to get a refund on CBS All Access?
CBS does not provide a refund on a subscription if it is cancelled part way through a billing cycle. Instead, your subscription will remain active until it expires on the day payment would have been taken.
Are there any good alternatives to CBS All Access?
There are a number of other streaming platforms out there, such as Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney Plus, Hayu and CuriosityStream. These offer a range of content, such as TV shows, movies and original programming.
Can I use my CBS All Access account in another country?
CBS All Access can only be used in the geographical locations it has been released in. This means that users can only watch content on the platform in the United States, Canada and Australia.
How to sign up to CBS All Access
- Navigate to the CBS All Access website.
- Click on the Try It Free Button.
- Read the introductory information and then click Continue.
- Select a plan, and whether you intend to pay monthly or annually.
- Read the information about account creation and then click Continue.
- Enter your name, email, password, zip code, birth date and gender.
- Enter your payment information.
- Start streaming!
CBS All Access: Worth it for more than Star Trek?
Although CBS All Access has been around since 2014, it enjoyed some extra time in the spotlight this week with the premiere of Star Trek: Discovery.
After the first episode aired on CBS proper, the network whisked people over to its standalone streaming service, which hosted the second episode and will be the series’ exclusive home from now on. CBS says the move prompted record sign-ups for All Access, which already had around 1.5 million subscribers by some estimates.
Mentioned in this article
This seems like a good time to dig in and see what you get for that $6 per month ($10 per month, if you prefer the ad-free version). As you might expect, All Access is the cheapest way to watch the live network feed and new CBS shows on-demand—at least without setting up an antenna and an over-the-air DVR. But it’s not the only way to do so, and much of the network’s back catalog is also available through other services.
The basics of CBS All Access
There are two main components to CBS All Access. First is the live CBS broadcast feed, which is available in markets where the network has deals with local station affiliates. (CBS has a webpage where you can look up availability. Just click the link that says “check availability.”)
The live feed is the same as what you’d get through cable or an antenna, including local news, primetime shows, and sports. (One exception: NFL games won’t play on smartphones, due to the league’s exclusive mobile streaming deal with Verizon Wireless.) But there are some caveats: You can’t pause, rewind, or record live TV, and the video quality is inferior. The live TV feed appeared to be muddy and pixelated on a first-generation Fire TV, and while Apple devices fared better, they’re capped at 30 frames per second.
Even if you can’t get live TV, CBS All Access’ on-demand catalog is still available nationwide. This includes primetime and daytime shows the day after they air, a back catalog of classic CBS programs, and some streaming-only shows such as Star Trek: Discovery and The Good Fight. The service also has a couple dozen seemingly random movies, including The Usual Suspects and Star Trek: Nemesis as of this writing.
Whether you go with the $6-per-month ad-supported version or the $10-per-month ad-free version, the service allows up to two simultaneous streams. You can also buy an annual subscription for $60 with ads, or $100 without ads, effectively giving you two months free per year. If you have a Showtime streaming subscription already, you can also add a CBS All Access subscription for a $2-per-month discount.
Mentioned in this article
As for app support, CBS All Access is available on Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, Roku, Android TV, Xbox consoles, iOS, Android, and Windows.
Cancelling CBS All Access is a low-hassle experience. Just head to the account page, and select “Cancel my subscription.” If you sign up for the current seven-day trial, you can cancel right away and still use the service for a week. You may even get an offer for a free month in exchange for not cancelling.
How the catalog holds up
The main benefit of CBS All Access is next-day, on-demand episodes from the broadcast network. Most programs offer at least the current season in its entirety, and many include every episode from past seasons. Want to watch 329 straight episodes of NCIS? Now you can.
There are some exceptions. Big Bang Theory, for instance, only has the season 11 premiere right now, and has offered a random selection of episodes in the past. In these cases, the show is produced by an outside studio, and CBS doesn’t have the rights to stream every episode. In general, though, CBS All Access is a fine option for binge-watching current network shows.
But if you’re just looking to stay current on existing shows, you do have other options beyond cable. DirecTV Now, FuboTV, Hulu with Live TV, and PlayStation Vue all include CBS in their base packages, and could be a better alternative if you already need a streaming TV bundle for other channels. While their on-demand catalogs are less expansive compared to All Access, all except DirecTV Now offer DVR features, and they support time-shifting for live TV to boot.
Meanwhile, the CBS All Access back catalog isn’t as special as it might seem. Access to every episode of every Star Trek TV series sounds appealing, for instance, until you realize that Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu all offer those shows as well. The same is true with CSI: Miami (every episode’s on Hulu) and 7th Heaven (on both Hulu and Amazon Prime).
The CBS All Access catalog is even less complete than other streaming services in some cases. Hulu, for instance, has all episodes of the original CSI, while CBS All Access has only the first, second, and 15th seasons. Some once-popular CBS shows that are now off-air, such as How I Met Your Mother, aren’t on All Access at all. (You’ll find that one on Netflix and Hulu instead.)
That brings us to original series like Star Trek: Discovery, which are supposed to justify an All Access subscription when all else fails. The problem is that CBS doesn’t have enough of these shows to sustain a year-round subscription. Beyond Star Trek, the only other originals right now are The Good Fight and a new variant of the reality show Big Brother. And so far, CBS has only announced a few more shows to come. Netflix and Amazon both have dozens of originals, and Hulu has been catching up.
Perhaps the saving grace of CBS All Access is that it’s stable. While Netflix and Amazon Prime are constantly cycling through TV shows and movies that they license from other networks, the All Access catalog is a known quantity that’s likely to remain available for the long haul. But because of that—and the breezy cancellation process—there’s little risk in picking up and dropping All Access in short bursts as needed. Keep that in mind as CBS looks to lure you in with its new version of Star Trek.
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Jared Newman covers personal technology from his remote Cincinnati outpost. He also publishes two newsletters, Advisorator for tech advice and Cord Cutter Weekly for help with ditching cable or satellite TV.
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What is CBS All Access and how much is it? Here's everything you need to know
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
Table of contents
Update: CBS All Access has been replaced by Paramount Plus. Check out our guide to that platform to learn more about what it has to offer.
The media landscape has changed forever with the rise of streaming services, and one of the first major networks to catch on was CBS. It was the first major US TV network to start its own streaming service in 2015, called CBS All Access.
Five years later, the service boasts more than 4 million subscribers and a growing catalog of licensed shows and movies, plus original content like Star Trek: Discovery. Top that off with NFL football games and kids programming from Nickelodeon and you have a compelling streaming option.
So what is CBS All Access and what does it offer? Keep reading for everything you need to know about CBS All Access, and click the button below to get started with your free trial!
Sign up for CBS All Access
What is CBS All Access?
CBS All Access is a streaming service from the US TV Network CBS and its parent company ViacomCBS. This partnership means it’s home to not just the latest series from CBS, but also tons of content from the Viacom catalog like Paramount Pictures films and shows from other networks like Nickelodeon and MTV.
The service first launched in 2014, initially only offering current CBS shows and live streaming of local CBS affiliates. Later NFL football games (including the Super Bowl) were added, leading to a massive increase in subscribers.
CBS All Access also began producing original series in 2017, starting with The Good Fight and Star Trek: Discovery. Following up on the popularity and success of the initial series, the service has added more original programming in recent years, including three more Star Trek shows with a fourth expected in 2021.
Today the service has more than four million subscribers in the US and has since expanded internationally in Canada and Australia (where it’s known as 10 All Access). Viacom has announced that the service will be rebranded and expanded even further internationally sometime in 2021.
How does it work?
CBS All Access works just like other streaming services: Log in to the platform via your PC, phone, or other connected device, select the show you want to watch, and start streaming. You can also select Live TV from the menu at the top to stream your local CBS affiliate channels.
If you’re subscribed to the cheaper ad-supported plan, you will occasionally see advertisements as you stream. More expensive ad-free plans allow you to stream without as many interruptions, although certain content (especially live content) will still have ads due to licensing obligations.
Is CBS All Access worth it?
Whether or not CBS All Access is worth it depends on what you want to stream. Perhaps its most attractive feature is live streaming of NFL football games, and if you’re looking for a way to watch your favorite sports, CBS All Access is a cheap alternative to cable subscriptions. Plus, you can cancel the subscription in the offseason and save some money.
One major plus for the service is the price. At just $5.99 a month, it’s one of the cheapest options out there, even if it does include ads. Removing those ads for $9.99 a month won’t put a big dent in your wallet either, and comes with other benefits like offline viewing on mobile devices.
However, streams are limited to HD quality and the list of streaming exclusives is still pretty small. Even after five years, there are only a small handful of exclusive shows worth watching on the service, and if that’s all you’re after it’s hard to justify the monthly fee.
Other network-based streaming services like Peacock offer free options as a way to entice users, but CBS All Access’ paid-only subscription model makes it much more difficult to recommend.
Where is CBS All Access available?
CBS All Access was first launched in the US, but in 2018 it also launched in Canada. In 2019 it was made available in Australia, in a partnership with the country’s Network 10, where it is branded as 10 All Access.
How much is CBS All Access?
CBS All Access has two pricing plans: one with ads and one without ads. However, even the ad-free plan has some ads due to licensing agreements.
The cheapest plan, which the company calls the Limited Commercials plan, runs $5.99 a month or $59.99 per year. Note that these prices don’t include any relevant state sales tax that may apply.
The premium plan, called the Commercial Free plan, costs $9.99 a month or $99.99 per year. Again, these prices don’t include taxes, and there is no difference between the two plans when it comes to content available to stream.
If you happen to have Apple TV Plus (or are interested in subscribing), there is currently a bundle deal that includes CBS All Access and Showtime for $10 a month. Combined with the monthly fee for Apple TV Plus itself that’s just $15, which is significantly less than you would pay for the three services individually.
Click the button below to learn more about CBS All Access subscription fees or start your free trial.
Sign up for CBS All Access
Is CBS All Access free?
CBS All Access is not free, and all plans require a subscription fee to stream content. There is some confusion about this as the app description in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store claim access to “free streaming of new episodes,” but sadly this isn’t the case.
Other network streaming services, like NBCUniversal’s Peacock, do have free ad-supported streaming plans, but for now CBS All Access has not announced any plans to implement one.
That said, there are a few ways to gain access to CBS All Access for free. The first is to share an account with a family member. You can stream on two devices at once with one account, so sharing with one other person shouldn’t result in any streaming conflicts.
The other way to get CBS All Access for free is with a seven-day free trial. When signing up you can select either plan for your trial, so you can pick the more expensive plan to try, then switch to the cheaper plan if you want to continue your subscription. Click the button below to get started!
Start your free trial
How do I get CBS All Access?
To sign up for CBS All Access, you just need to click here and enter your details. You’ll be able to start with a seven-day free trial so you can decide whether or not you want to continue the subscription before paying a dime.
What devices does CBS All Access support?
Other streaming devices are also widely supported. Apps are available on Amazon Fire TV sticks, TVs, and set-top boxes, along with most Roku devices. In addition, the service is available on the Apple TV set-top box, Android TV-based set-top boxes and TVs, and it supports the Chromecast dongles and TVs.
As for non-Android TV smart TVs, you can still stream CBS All Access on certain Samsung and Vizio smart TVs. There are also apps for all versions of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles.
What’s on CBS All Access?
CBS All Access is home to all CBS television shows, plus a few streaming exclusives and movies from the Paramount library. There are far too many shows (more than 20,000 episodes) to list here, but here’s a brief selection of what you can expect on the service.
What shows are on CBS All Access?
TV shows are the strongest showing on CBS All Access, with hundreds of classic and new series available to stream. Even brand new episodes can be streamed on the service shortly after their air, so you’ll never regret canceling that cable subscription.
Below is a shortlist of shows on CBS All Access, not including originals, which we’ll cover in the next section.
- 60 Minutes
- The Amazing Race
- Avatar: The Last Airbender
- Blue Bloods
- The Brady Bunch
- Chappelle’s Show
- Criminal Minds
- CSI (all shows)
- The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
- I Love Lucy
- The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
- The Late Late Show with James Corden
- Melrose Place
- NCIS (all shows)
- Reno 911
- Sabrina, The Teenage Witch
- SpongeBob SquarePants
- Star Trek (all shows)
- The Twilight Zone (all shows)
- Twin Peaks
- The Unicorn
How about CBS All Access Originals?
In order to boost subscriber numbers and build an incentive for people to try out the service, the CBS All Access Originals program was launched in 2017. The first two originals were The Good Fight, a spin-off of The Good Wife, and Star Trek: Discovery, which is set 10 years before the start of Star Trek TOS.
To give you a quick preview, here’s a select list of shows you can stream right away.
- The Good Fight — This spin-off and sequel to The Good Wife is centered around the character Diane Lockhart, played by Christine Baranski. It follows in the same footsteps and already has a fifth season in the works.
- Interrogation — An innovative true-crime series that consists of a series of interviews with a man convicted of murdering his mother that can be watched in any order. The idea is that you, the viewer, get to play detective and try to solve the case.
- One Dollar — A mystery thriller where the narrative changes perspectives to follow the owner of a single one-dollar bill. As the story progresses, the mysteries and secrets of an unassuming rust belt town are revealed.
- The Twilight Zone — Yet another revival of the classic anthology series, this time led by Jordan Peele of Get Out fame. Two 10-episode seasons are available to stream on CBS All Access.
- Star Trek: Discovery — 10 years before the events of TOS, this series follows the story of the eponymous ship USS Discovery as it explores anomalies throughout the galaxy. Two seasons have aired with a third coming in late 2020.
- Star Trek: Lower Decks — The first animated series on CBS All Access, this show puts the spotlight on the support crew for the USS Cerritos. It’s currently in its first season.
- Star Trek: Picard — Patrick Stewart revisits his TNG character Captain Jean Luc Picard, who is now older and retired from Starfleet. The first season is available for streaming, with a second and third on the way.
- Tell Me a Story — This psychological thriller anthology series reimagines classic fairy tales in a modern setting. The Three Little Pigs, Hansel and Gretel, and many others are portrayed in two full seasons.
- Why Women Kill — A dark comedy that shifts between time periods to tell the story of three women who are driven to murder. It features an impressive cast that includes Lucy Liu, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Kirby Howell-Baptiste.
On December 17, CBS All Access will release a 10-episode adaptation of Stephen King’s classic post-apocalypse novel The Stand. The first nine episodes will adapt the novel, while the final 10th episode will be an all-new epilogue to the story, written by King and his son Owen King.
What movies are on CBS All Access?
Although it isn’t nearly as impressive as its list of TV shows, CBS All Access also has a number of movies from the Paramount library.
There’s certainly enough here to find something to watch, but don’t expect too many movies from the past decade. If what you’re really after is recent movies it’s probably better that you try out some of the other best streaming services on the market.
You will also find a ton of documentaries from the Smithsonian Channel on the service. Most recently, CBS All Access posted its first original documentary, Console Wars. It takes a look at the battle between Nintendo and Sega in the early 1990s for the console video game audience.
Live and sports content
As part of your CBS All Access subscription there’s a good chance you can also stream live television without any extra cost. These include your local CBS affiliate, CBSN, and CBS Sports HQ, which is a combination of several CBS Sports channels.
However, not all markets are included. Click here to check whether your local area supports live CBS programming on CBS All Access.
When it comes to sports content, CBS All Access is an excellent deal. For less than $6 a month you can watch every regular-season NFL game, plus playoffs and even the Super Bowl. You might not be able to stream in 4K, but that price is unbeatable!
Sign up for CBS All Access
CBS All Access vs the competition
It’s difficult to pin down just what CBS All Access’ competition is, since nearly all of its content is from one network, CBS. Many of these shows aren’t available for streaming on other platforms.
To help you make the right decision, we’ve compared what CBS All Access has to offer with other services that are primarily focused on streaming TV shows. You can check out a full comparison of more streaming services in the article below.
Read also:The best video streaming services that are worth your time and money
CBS All Access vs Peacock
NBCUniversal’s Peacock might be the new kid on the block, but it has an ace up its sleeve to help capture more of the streaming market. It allows you to stream shows and movies from NBC and Comcast networks for the low price of absolutely nothing.
Read also:Peacock: Pricing, content, and everything else you need to know
Peacock’s ad-supported free tier has more than 13,000 hours of classic and modern tv shows to stream, and for $4.99 a month (less than CBS All Access’ cheapest plan), you can bump that up to 20,000 hours. The service isn’t without its problems, but there really is no reason not to try the free version if you live in the United States.
Sign up for Peacock
CBS All Access vs Hulu
Hulu is another solid CBS All Access alternative, with TV shows from countless US networks on offer. The cheapest ad-supported plan is available for the same price, but the catalog of content is much larger. You can even cut the cord entirely with Hulu + Live TV, which unlocks more than 60 live TV channels.
To sweeten the pot even further, the Disney Plus-Hulu-ESPN Plus bundle at $12.99 is one of the best deals in streaming. You gain access to an enormous amount of TV shows and movies, plus great sports content via ESPN Plus. However, you won’t get access to NFL games like you do with CBS All Access, which might be a dealbreaker for football fanatics.
Get the Disney Plus-Hulu-ESPN Plus bundle
CBS All Access vs Apple TV Plus
If what attracts you to CBS All Access is exclusive TV shows, then Apple TV Plus is another service worth checking out. Unlike other streaming services, virtually all of the content on Apple TV Plus can’t be streamed anywhere else.
This does mean that the library is somewhat limited, but with the weight of the world’s first $2 trillion company behind it, the service can only grow from here. Currently, there are more than 30 Apple Originals to stream, including The Morning Show, Mythic Quest, Central Park, and more. There is only one plan at $4.99 a month, but it includes ad-free access in full 4K quality.
Get Apple TV Plus
Q: Does CBS All Access support 4K streaming?
A: No, the highest supported quality is HD.
Q: How many devices can I stream on at once?
A: CBS All Access supports simultaneous streaming on two devices.
Q: Does CBS All Access have ads?
A: The base plan has ads, and although the more expensive plan nearly eliminates them, some content will still have ads due to licensing agreements.
Q: How many ads does CBS All Access show?
A: Expect about as many ads as you would see on broadcast television. The premium plan reduces this significantly on most content.
Q: Can I share CBS All Access with friends and family?
A: Yes. The service supports simultaneous streaming on two devices, so you can comfortably share with at least one family member.
Q: How many subscribers does CBS All Access have?
A: As of 2020 it has 4 million subscribers.
Q: Does CBS All Access work offline?
A: Yes, but only with the premium $9.99/mo plan.
The Future: Paramount Plus
In September 2020, ViacomCBS announced that CBS All Access will be renamed and rebranded to Paramount Plus. The switch should happen in the US and Canada on March 4, 2021. It was felt that the Paramount movie studio name was a better choice since it is well known all over the world. ViacomCBS will expand Paramount Plus to Latin America on March 4, in the Nordic countries on March 25, and in Australia later in 2021.
StreamingCBS All Access